Shoot. Capture. Subject. Take. Trigger.

These words are starting to feel uncomfortable.

We used to love using them. They made us feel special. These words and others are the coded language we could speak, signaling to others ‘in the business’ that we belonged.

Yet, these words are inherently violent…

Wrap Report: Documentary Outreach to Guatemala 2023

In San Juan la Laguna, Guatemala, June ushered in high hopes. Summer tourists flooded the small mountain town, igniting a bustling business scene. The annual town festival and a historic presidential election in June kept excitement levels soaring. Day and night, thunderous fireworks punctuated the countdown to these dual celebrations.

The rainy season was late in arriving, making for hot days, dusty, dry streets and dwindling public water reserves, underscoring the town’s delicate balance with nature.

Amidst this whirlwind, Actuality Abroad’s twenty crew members arrived, bringing cameras and curiosity, ready to document the vibrant tapestry of life, culture and change in San Juan la Laguna.

Navigating Culture Shock: A guide for documentary storytellers

Doing ethical documentary storytelling on location, across cultures can be emotionally and mentally challenging. Acknowledging and dealing with feelings of overwhelm is crucial for maintaining personal well-being and creating a respectful and authentic documentary. By prioritizing self-care, taking breaks when needed, connecting energetically to the place where you are at, and asking for help, documentary filmmakers can create a more empathetic and impactful portrayal of the communities they document.

A crew of citizen storytellers listens to Rachina Boussine explain the history and purpose of Cooperative Tifouine Ameln in Tafroute, Morocco

Wrap Report: Storytelling Expedition to Morocco 2023

In a world where travel is often reduced to checking off a list of tourist destinations, we embarked on a different kind of journey. Our Storytelling Expedition to Morocco was not just about seeing the sights, but about connecting with the people and their stories.

Developed in partnership with Moroccan Social Impact Travels, a locally owned responsible tourism company, our mission was to explore rural women’s cooperatives and other responsible tourism initiatives in the country.

Collaboration and Consent: The Keys to Ethical Documentary Storytelling

Storytelling is a powerful tool that can be used for good or for harm. As storytellers, we have the power and the responsibility to tell stories in a way that respects the dignity and autonomy of the individuals whose stories we share. By collaborating with these individuals, we can create media that is authentic, compelling, and inspiring. And by doing so, we can help to create a world where everyone’s stories are heard and valued.